Natural disasters can occur at anytime. When they do, there is always a chance that some of your important assets will be lost and this includes your important data. However, when natural disasters such as fires, floods, geomagnetic storms and hurricane occur, your company data will be safer if they are stored in cloud than anywhere else. The cloud offers a protection to data that is quite different from the kind of protection you get from traditional data centers. Traditional data centers are designed to withstand natural disasters, however when there is a situation that requires evacuation of your data, it needs somewhere else to go and this is where cloud have upper hand than any other form of storage. With cloud, you will have adequate protection with multiple levels of redundancy across the world. This means that nothing will happen to your data even if one location suffered severe damage from the natural disaster.
No matter the type of infrastructure you put in place, it is not easy to protect data during a hurricane. "Hardening" is the most viable option to protect data for data centers outside of a hurricane's direct path. A hardened data center is located on and upper floor (for instance, above the parking lot) and has hurricane shields for all windows and doors. The center is usually equipped with flood precautions like pumps.
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy proved that even the strongest facility can do little to withstand the storm's direct path. The storm put to test the resilience of colocation, cloud services, , and redundant facilities, revealing that data is more safe when they are not kept at a single location. The lessons learnt from the menace of the Hurricane Katrina in 2004 proved beneficial in 2012, including prompting the need to secure data backups outside of the hurricane area.
The impact of global warming is causing the world to get warmer and the sea level to rise. This therefore shows the need for coastal data centers to protect data against flooding. There is need to make emergency backup generators flood proof and provide adequate fuel storage that can last for days. However, in the long run, this may not matter much because if your data center is in the wrong spot at the wrong time, it may not remain online after a serious flood irrespective of how strong your data storage facility is.
Companies outside of regular flood zones are not exonerated from flood effect. They should therefore be aware of this contingency; For instance, in 2014, Phoenix witnessed a record-breaking flash flooding as a direct result of the largest single day's rain ever seen in the normally dry city.
Solar flares or a coronal mass ejection is one threat that may escape your mind. It is a situation where the sun throws huge amount of energy and particles into space. This energy and particles can produce a phenomena (such as the auroras) when this discharge hits the Earth. It can as well leads to damage and destruction of electrical systems just like in the case of electromagnetic pulse (EMP).
Geomagnetic storms have same precautions like every other disaster (disaster recovery plan, backup power supplies, etc). Solar flares unlike other natural disasters which damage physical infrastructures affect electrical systems and can lead to months-long power outages in some regions. The best possible solution is to have cross-region backup of your entire data.
According the CTO of Microsoft Disaster Response, Tony Surma, "the knowledge that information is a basic need in response to disaster - right along with shelter, food and water - is driving use of the cloud." Companies can easily accommodate large spikes in traffic irrespective of the local conditions when data is stored in the cloud. Cloud storage protects your data no matter the nature or the amount of disaster that occurs in the location of your data center. Learn more about the basics of backup and disaster recovery.